Offense (!!) was the word of the day in Baltimore, as the Rays and Orioles combined for 25 hits and six homers over a nine inning affair. Four of the 15 Rays hits were off the red hot bat of Joey Butler, and Steven Souza launched his third home run in three games with a three-run shot into the Rays' bullpen in left center in the 5th. He now leads all rookies with 10 dingers this season.
The O's actually got on the board first in the bottom of the first with a solo shot from Delmon Young. The first of two that the former two-time Ray would send over the wall today. 1-0 O's.
Delmon gave one back in the bottom of the 2nd after a Bobby Wilson RBI bloop single. Young fielded the ball and gunned it to third but well out of the reach of a diving Manny Machado. Manny would chase it down and throw it home, but Nick Franklin dove in just in time to put the Rays up 2-1.
In the top of the 3rd, with runners on first and second, Tillman bounced one in the dirt that sent DeJesus charging towards second base. Caleb Joseph gathered it quickly and threw a laser to Flaherty that was just a touch too late to gun down a diving DeJesus, but David overslid the base by an inch or so and was tagged out. DeJesus couldn't believe it, and Kevin Cash opted to challenge. In typical Cash fashion (Cashion?), the call was upheld.
The Delmon Young Show then continued in the bottom of the inning, as he took another Odorizzi offering over the left field fence. His second solo homer of the game tied it back up 2-2. Delmon would not be the only Oriole with a multi-homer game.
The 5th inning was the big one for the Rays. After consecutive strikeouts from Butler and Kiermaier (who made a pretty nifty leaping grab to save Odorizzi a few headaches the inning before), Tillman allowed a walk and a single to Longoria and DeJesus. Logan Forsythe made them pay with a single to left center that sent Longoria across the plate to put the Rays back up 3-2. With two on and two out, Steven Souza Jr. launched a three-run shot over the left centerfield wall that extended the Rays' lead to 6-2.
David DeJesus collected a homer of his own off of righty reliever Oliver Drake in the top of the 7th. This one just barely peaked over the right field wall and bounced back in off of the side of the groundskeeping shed. 7-2 Rays.
In the bottom of the frame, with Ryan Flaherty on first courtesy of a single, Manny Machado knocked one into the center field stands for a two-run shot. The first of Manny's two homers was the third that Jake Odorizzi allowed today. He'd only given up two home runs on the season going into today's game. It took Steve Geltz and Jake McGee to dig out of the inning, but no more damage would come in the 7th. 7-4 Rays.
The Rays tacked on another in the 8th with an Evan Longoria sac fly that sent Kevin Kiermaier home. 8-4 Rays.
The Rays would stretch their lead to 5 in the top of the 9th. After a Souza double and Cabrera hit-by-pitch, Brandon Guyer singled to right with two outs to send Souza home. Cabrera found himself in a rundown to end the opportunity, but 9-4 felt pretty comfortable going into the bottom of the 9th.
That comfort began to fade a bit when Xavier Cedeno gave up a lead off homer to Manny Machado, his second today, that just barely stayed inside the right field foul pole. Kevin Cash asked the umpires to take a look at it, and of course the call was upheld. 9-5 Rays. Cedeno continued to look rocky, giving up a single to Delmon Young and walking Chris Davis, before Brad Boxberger was called upon to finish the job.
Jake Odorizzi had a rare battle with home runs today, particularly off the bat of his nemesis Delmon Young, but he still gave the Rays six innings and a chance to win. Pitching and defense is usually our formula, but the bats took care of business today as well.
9-5 was the final. The series win over the Orioles puts the Rays back on top of the AL East, tied with the Yankees at 26-25.
The Rays embark on a west coast road trip next, with Alex Colome on the mound tomorrow in Anaheim.
I leave on a trip of my own tomorrow, as I will be flying up to Chicago to do everything in my power to rub my playoff hockey curse off on the home of the Blackhawks. In case you're unaware, the Lightning have somehow lost all four home playoff games that I have attended the last two seasons. Watch out, Windy City. I'm bringing some bad juju to town.
Go Rays! Go Bolts! First place in the AL East and playing for a Stanley Cup. Man this is fun!
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